West Seattle All Time Crimes – 1933 (part two)
Editor's note: The West Seattle Herald has been covering news here for nearly a century. Robinson Newspapers (which publishes the West Seattle Herald) have a massive news archive of Herald coverage dating back to 1928. What follows are crime reports and public safety issues from 1933. Although reporters’ names were not included with stories at that time, their original words remain intact. As more historical crime reports are compiled there will be more installments of West Seattle All Time Crimes.
January 26, 1933
High School Safe Robbed of Contents
Robbers looted the local high school’s safe Sunday morning of $40, some stamps, an envelope of senior pins, papers and some copper ash trays.
Upon arriving at the school Sunday afternoon, Mr. Kaye, vice-principal discovered the damaged and looted safe, and the several smashed locks.
The robbers failing to gain entrance into the boys’ gym, broke the lock on the picket fence by the machine shop, and smashed the door by the botany laboratory. Although keys to the safe were available, they smashed the inner door after working the outer combination of the safe.
February 16, 1933
Bandit takes $40 at hamburger shop
Late Wednesday night, H.E. Chambers of the Nifty Hamburger Shop, 4829 California Ave, had served his last customer a cup of coffee and had opened the cash drawer to summarize his day’s business when a young business-like man with a slouched hat walked in with a gun and ordered, “Turn over all you’ve got and be quick about it.”
His brusque instructions to the late customer were: “Put your hands on the counter and leave them there.” The bandit then scooped up the contents of the cash drawer and picked up a plump wallet in an adjoining drawer which Chambers had opened just as the intruder arrived.
A waiting accomplice then drove the unruffled bandit south on California Avenue without even leaving Chambers a nickel with which to telephone the police. He made away with approximately $40, which is covered by insurance. Among the currency was a Lions Club dollar which must be spent in West Seattle.
March 27, 1933
Fake officers rob candy store owner
A gang of fake “federal officers” held up A. Cope’s confectionery store on the Fauntleroy ferry dock early Sunday morning, bound Cope and John Neill, his youthful assistant, with rope and threatened to shoot them if they resisted.
The robbery occurred shortly after midnight when Cope and young Neill had gone to bed in the living quarters behind the store. They were awakened by a pounding on the entrance.
“Who’s there?” Cope shouted.
“We’re federal officers and we’ve got a warrant to search the place. Open up,” was the reply.
Cope opened the door and was confronted by two men with drawn guns. A third man followed them into the store and while the two gunmen kept Cope and the youth covered, the other man bound them hand and foot with rope the gang had brought with them.
The robbers escaped with $20 from Cope’s pocket. Two residents of the neighborhood who had been searching for a lost boy saw the robbers leave and released the two victims.
April 27, 1933
Says California is now speedway
Many near accidents result form lack of “Stop” signs, says resident
Here’s the other side of the question of making California Avenue an arterial highway:
Herbert F. Price lives on the corner of California and Andover and has a front seat on avenue traffic. He says:
“California Avenue is already a speedway and arterial signs could not make the traffic any faster. Most of the drivers are now going the limit.
“Practically every day on our corner we see four or five narrow escapes from collisions due to autos coming in from the side streets without stopping. Arterial stop signs would prevent this prolific cause of accidents and it would not speed traffic any more than it is now speeded. Most of the drivers using California travel far above the legal speed limit of 25 miles. I have lived on the corner or eight years and believe that I am reasonably familiar with traffic as it moves along our section of California Avenue.”
The Herald also received phone calls refuting the arguments of those opposed to “Stop” signs. One man said:
“The truth is that most people already accept California as an arterial and stop before entering it from either side. When driving on the avenue, they take for granted that cross traffic will stop. It is when somebody not familiar with the local custom fails to observe these rules that a smashup occurs. If signs were placed along the avenue, the few people who cause the accidents would obey the same rules as the others and no accidents would then take place.
“As far as fast traffic is concerned, we already have it. People getting on the street cars are not being injured. I cannot remember of a single accident to a person boarding a car, while accidents to autos at intersections are frequent.”
The Herald would like to get the views of all citizens. If you are interested in the subject, send in your views on either side of the question.